Peckover, Sue (2013) Domestic Abuse, Safeguarding Children and Public Health: Towards an Analysis of Discursive Forms and Surveillant Techniques in Contemporary UK Policy and Practice. British Journal of Social Work. ISSN 0045-3102

In the UK, domestic abuse has shifted from the margins to the mainstream, and is now firmly established as an important public policy issue. This paper is concerned with how domestic abuse is constructed in public policy, particularly in the realms of safeguarding children and public health. These issues are examined through a Foucaldian theoretical lens which draws attention to the discursive constructions of social problems and how they are managed under conditions of governmentality, and presents a line of analysis rarely applied to domestic abuse. The paper illustrates how health and social care professionals come to know about domestic abuse affecting women and children through techniques of surveillance; this includes routine inquiry in health care, police notifications to children's social care and risk assessment used by MARACs (Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conferences). The emphasis upon identification has increased awareness of the problem, but questions remain on whether the safety and support of women and children affected by domestic abuse has improved. Moreover, these developments have taken place amidst resource constraints which create a challenging context for delivering effective services for women and children.

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